I want to write a few words here to follow on that last 2017’s season recap article. I made my decision pretty clear on here about the frequency of what content will go up on this blog and I want to clarify some issues.
First off I am not completely ‘taking down’ the POV. I will keep it up for the BB season with game threads if I can remember to post them. That way whoever wants to keep talking about Pitt sports on here can do so.
Secondly I will post some special articles that are timely – for instance Richman has asked me to use The POV as a survey venue for input into Pitt’s Fan Committee which he has been named to. That sort of thing – public interest stuff – I’ll do if it is appropriate. But I will say that in anticipation of going into the offseason and the next season you should probably find another venue to enjoy. I am not at all sure I’ll keep this going.
Let me explain how the straw that broke the back fell on my decisions.
In the last comments section there was mention of other Blogs to go to and there are some good ones, if you want good Pitt football coverage Chris Peak over at Rivals.com is the best and it is worth a subscription… however the only other “Blog” site I can endorse as not being in Pitt’s back pocket in some manner is The Pitt Blather.
Why is that? Because, like the myself and the POV, Chas Rich isn’t in debt in any way to outside interests… and make no mistake all the others are in some way, shape or form however how small or large they are.
When you have sites that take local advertising (some directly from Pitt and the Athletic Dept. themselves) and accept endorsements directly from businesses who have vested interests on how Pitt football is viewed by fans and donors, you can rest assured they are not going to give you 360° of critical looks at the program, its coaches and the team.
They just are not going to do it because it cuts directly into their livelihood. I mean when you have a main member of The Cardiac Hill on Pitt’s Fan’s Committee guess what he’ll be saying in his articles?
So independent sites like here and the Blather are different. Someone mentioned that the Blather has shrunk over the last two years and I’ll say, and I suppose that this is tooting my own horn, that when you have a writer who is retired and devotes three or so hours a day to writing articles on an almost daily basis and then it stops – things change.
There was a reason Chas took that long sabbatical after I left – because running an international blog, as we both are, is damn hard work and a daunting task. I am glad he’s back at it.
And that is what I have done on here since June 27th 2016. But things changed on here over this last season and to be brutally honest it was instigated by the commenters. I left the message boards years ago because they became petty and the posters vindictive toward one another. That started happening on here.
Commenters sent me emails asking me to ban other commenters – I refuse to do that so I set certain parameters; no swearing and no politics. Both issues some commenters refused to abide by. I wrote many times that I was sick and tired of having to moderate, edit and approve your comments when they were sent to me via email by WordPress because you could not stop swearing in them…and you refused to do that one small thing that I asked.
Even this morning there were two comments in my inbox and every day there has been at least one – sometimes as many as five or six. I told you that it tethered me to the blog after I finished an article and I didn’t want that and you did not stop even then. I asked – you didn’t care.
That is a minor request guys – one that I made and insisted upon because, as I told you a hundred times, the commenters were not the only readers of the blog… actually if you crunch the average daily numbers commenters represented about .003%. That isn’t a typo.
The readership of the POV was huge and in 102 countries – yet some commenters acted like they were talking only to each other at a frat party… then called out others when asked to not do so.
But the final straw was because I have discussed things with some individual commenters about Pitt football in detail outside of the Blog – topics that included source names and specifics and they turned around and said that I was generating ‘fake news’ or that I had stated certain things due to some nebulous ‘agenda’ I might hold. That was it right there… question my integrity and honor and things get magnified.
Well here is the truth unvarnished; I don’t care about Pat Narduzzi at all. Really I don’t, outside of the direct impact he has on the football team and even then very little. I don’t ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ him – I think he does some very nice things for the University and I believe, and know, that he’s human with an ego and warts and all. He’s good and bad and average and a person and has successes and makes mistakes.
In other words he’s an employee who is apparently pretty good (or not depending on your POV) at one certain thing and that’s about it. So be it. As with anyone within the public eye of Pitt football some media are never going to really question him or second guess his professional work.
They may ask a tough question or two every so often, which never gets answered BTW, but you won’t see any mainstream media writers really letting their hair down and stating their true opinions of the head coach or the team… but you had that on here and on the Blather also.
As I said above when your living demands you keep on the good side of something or someone then what you generate to the public regarding that something or someone is going to be colored by that fact.
I never once asked readers to agree with me – I am very opinionated and that always demands critique and discussion from others. That is what so much of the writing I did on here was “I believe…” or “I Think…” or “In my opinion…”.
But when I wrote, over my name, that certain facts were delivered to me or that I witnessed events or had solid and believable discussions about certain things you can damn well be sure I double checked it as much as possible and then wrote it out in a clear and understandable way. That is what integrity is and that is how I have lived my adult life.
I also was as quick as possible to rectify any mistakes I had made and if I found what I had written was in any way different that what I had said earlier.
I think it is interesting that as critical as I was about Pitt Football back seven or eight years ago E. J. Borghetti reached out to me and offered Media Credentials so that “You can understand what you are writing about” as he said at the time. I’m not sure other Public Affair Heads would do that at other schools, but he did.
I used them generously through Wannstedt’s last years and then through Graham and Chryst’s tenures and now into this HC’s hire. Not only did I drive up for practices (about 50 times all told from Maryland) – under Narduzzi that is a completely wasted trip for me – but more importantly I made sure I was at every LOI Day, Media Day, Pro Timing Day, Barnstorming tours, luncheons, meet and greets etc. that I possibly could because that is really where you get to know people associated with Pitt football.
I wrote in an earlier article that there are no real secrets in the Southside facilities and that is true.
The parents and families of recruits (who then became Panthers), the roster players themselves, Pitt football alumni (lots of those), the HS coaches, the associated media types and Pitt staffers involved… those are the people who really know what is happening with Pitt football folks, not the fans who reside on message boards and blogs who say ‘a friend told me..’
And I did that for many years cultivating friendships and contacts. My parents were tenured professors and administrators at Pitt as were my uncles, aunts, a brother and cousins. Regular 1950s-70s Friday night cocktail parties at my childhood home were all about Pitt and attended by those who quite literally ran it.
I know past and current BoT members and past and current Pitt executives – some as about high as you can get at this university. I’ve old family and childhood friends who are large donors to the university and I grew up with a Chancellor’s children and remain great friends with them today. I know the University of Pittsburgh and have since birth.
Which is why I wrote this blog – because I lived all things Pitt all my earlier life and now in my older age and care so much about the university. But I never let my love for Pitt cloud whatever subject matter I wrote about on here. I wrote about Pitt football with a critical eye, honest opinions and as factual as possible.
That is where the ultimate frustration in doing a blog like this resides. I have never once said I was a sort of “Insider” as that implies someone associated intimately with the principals of the football program – I did not talk with the football staff itself as many other writers imply. I made it very clear I wasn’t one. But I also made clear that my personal life intertwined with Pitt in many different ways and in many different friendships.
But don’t believe for a second that others employed by and associated with Pitt won’t discuss the university and in turn Pitt football in private because it too is a large part of their lives.
I will say in all honestly that of all the stuff I have come to know about Pitt football over the years I have had media credentials, and before, I have shared about…maybe 10% publicly. But the info that has come through lunches, over drinks, at parties, via emails and phone calls and is rather extensive.
And I suppose you would be shocked to know that of all the stuff I chose not to write because it was pretty negative and not within the boundaries of my blog standards sometimes came from graduated players themselves and their parents, many who had fine careers at Pitt with no axes to grind.
Why did they discuss stuff with me? Because they are human beings and so am I and we had common interests. And more importantly I never once ‘outed’ anyone who discussed the less than positive aspects of the subject matter.
Now I’m not saying Pitt football is tilted to the negative – that is not true at all. It is very above-board in the main, otherwise I wouldn’t care about it – or be proud of it.
But again, the people who are involved with Pitt are like you and I – we have insights and beliefs and wants and opinions and everything else under the sun.
Above all, and please understand this very clearly – I have had no “skin in the game” as they say. I certainly never financially benefited from the blog. Far from it I assure you. I didn’t earn prestige or publicity from it – I couldn’t care less about that stuff and have other more important laurels to rest on than writing a blog. I tried to make this blog not about me but about you and your love of Pitt football.
I never was given special favors to write or not write something either. As a matter of fact that when I received that initial phone call from Mr. Borghetti offering me media access the first thing I said to him was that I wouldn’t change or modify how or what I wrote and he said “I’m not asking you to” and he never did. He is a true and excellent Pitt man – no doubt about that.
What drove me was that I saw a need for honest discussion where there were no restraints on subject matter and no outside influences as to what was written and discussed about Pitt football. That and I wanted readers and fans to have a fun and intelligent place to share ideas and hopefully come to know one another. I think I accomplished that.
I’ll also say this. Over the last few months we have seen the Pitt football team and the program go through some rough times. I sent some personal notes out to some readers stating that we would see that and should be prepared for it. But apparently some readers and commenters let the poor season get under their skins. Too bad for them, to let a mere game, and that is all it really is, affect you in a way that allowed your worse sides to show.
I asked for simple civility on here and I always tried to provide that from where I stood. Very basic request – treat others with respect and play nice.
When this blog took an uncivil turn and looked like it was going to stay that way that was it for me. I’ll not put the time, energy and money into something like this any longer when there are so many other much more vitally important things that need to be done in this lifetime.
In the past when I got tired or frustrated I’ve stepped back from writing but this time I discussed the situation with my family. Each and every one said they were surprised this didn’t happen earlier. They saw the extent of work I put in and the joy I used to get from it, and they saw that it isn’t the same now. I’m taking their heartfelt advice this time.
As I said I’ll keep the blog ‘alive’ until I make a full decision over the offseason. I’ll accept written articles if you take the time to do so but I’ll only work on them if everything else in my life is taken care of first.
I also offered to help anyone start their own blog if they choose so if you feel like doing that you have my email. Do not send any more contributions to this blog in the future, those received in the past were genuinely appreciated and spent directly in support of this blog, but any new ones will be returned.
I understand that most readers and commenters have appreciated this blog and my efforts and I thank you for that. But some grabbed the gift horse and looked directly into its mouth… and to them I say you had a good thing and screwed it up…have fun elsewhere.